Over Christmas, I took quite a lot of time out. No day job, no blogging, no DIY. After everything that happened globally in 2016, plus just the general exhaustion of reaching the end of another year, I need to down tools and just have some quiet time behind closed doors. It gave me time to think about plans for 2017 and what the year ahead would hopefully symbolise and some of it was written in a sort of New Year’s resolution post.
One of those resolutions was to really think carefully about what I would spend money on this year. With so much of our lives lived on social media it has ups and downs – we make wonderful connections and new friends that otherwise wouldn’t happen but we’re also incredibly influenced by what others have. We’re encouraged to buy constantly and often cheap, living a disposable life where clothes, accessories, homewares are changed out all the time in favour of something new, week after week, month after month.
When I was still running my business DaisychainBaby, I had a couple of ethos. One, that everything would be either organic or ethically sourced and two, that it would be something different, not something that everyone else had or that was easy to find on the high street. Customers frequently questioned why they should pay £15 for a babygrow which is a completely fair and valid argument. I explained how superior the quality was, how it wouldn’t fall apart and could be passed to siblings and friends, good as new. I could speak at length about whether they were happy with their children’s clothes being made by the children of other people in a far-flung destination. Out of sight, out of mind.
Some people got it, some people didn’t and that’s life, you’ll never convince everyone that they have a conscious decision to make. And I’m so far from being the ideal, ethically-minded consumer. But I try hard to make differences am pretty good at supporting small independents and trying to seek out something a little bit different, hopeful that my purchase can perhaps make a difference to someone who is trying to get their start in business, a talented crafter or someone trying to make ends meet or follow their dreams.
A few weeks ago I bought a faux tulip wreath from a small business called The Big Door Wreath Company. I hung it on the door and put a picture on Instagram and then everything went a little bit crazy. So far the picture has been liked more than 3,500 times when my average Instagram picture gets around 100 likes. More than this though, it’s made an absolutely massive difference to the lady I bought it from. She sent me this email and with permission, I’m sharing some of what she wrote to me:
I am so sorry I haven’t sent you a message earlier. I wanted to write you a proper email and not just a little note and I have been rushed off my feet!
Wow well where do I start? Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you for all the lovely posts you have put on your Instagram. I had never imagined that anyone would do that and the response has been remarkable! I love my door wreaths but it has been amazing to hear that lots of people (over 3500) love them too, your good self included. And not only do they love them, they have been buying them as well!
And then there’s your feature on your blog! It was totally amazing and I could not believe my eyes when I read it. You have such a lovely way with words and you describe everything so well. To take the time to write and take photographs and upload it all, I really am so touched. It really is so lovely of you!
This has absolutely been the busiest week of my life! After your post last week, the orders came flooding in and I completely sold out. I had people asking to be on the “waiting list” and pre ordering. I have been wreath making until 2am most days this week and my husband took two days off work to watch the kiddies whilst I whittled away at thousands of tulips! And this is all down to you!
The email came through whilst I was at work and was read out loud to my colleagues because it touched me so much, that I could have made such a difference is incredible. Just today Alison emailed me that she’d had three orders from the USA and one from Canada. Could I have had that impact on a high street store? No, of course not. And even if I had, would it have made a difference? No.
Supermarkets, department stores and chains all have their purpose and it’s not possible to go completely independent on every purchase, but sometimes it’s just about making a little change here and there that can have the most positive impact on someone else’s life. Or it’s worth saving up for something you’ll really cherish and get so much use from instead of constantly purchasing all the time. So next time you’re rushing round grabbing sale bargains or thinking how marvellous something is because it costs only £5, please think about whether it will really make you happy.
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Oh my gosh, that it fantastic, Lins. Truly fantastic. But that wreath is gorgeous and thoroughly deserving of all those ‘likes’.
Thanks so much Rachel, I’m really happy for her that business is going so well. We can all play our little part in trying to make a difference X
Oh wow! I’ve recently seen these wreaths on loads of Insta feeds and to think you started it all!! How wonderful that this small business has had such an incredible boost, and she sounds like a lovely lady who thoroughly deserves it as well. I’ve actually been coveting one myself, but I am going to wait (she may be relieved to hear) until we have our new front door in the middle of the house instead of at the end, and hopefully a beautiful door as opposed to the cheap tacky one we currently have (which lets in air on 2 sides due to gaps of nearly half an inch!). So that gives her about 3 years to make it! Ha!
I absolutely agree with you about buying little and only what you need, and buying ethically. However, in practice, on a very strict budget, I do find it hard to adhere to in practice. However, I tell myself that though I am buying cheap, mass produced items, I am buying them almost invariably second-hand, so in that respect it is not quite as bad!! I think the best we can all do is just that, our best, and not beat ourselves up if life isn’t truly lived as we would like to in an ideal world. xx
You know Anna you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head – I’m constantly worrying about not doing enough, but actually all it is, is for each one person to make little changes wherever they can. And I also think that buying second hand is another brilliant way of making a difference, it all helps. I feel so much more conscious of all these things as I get older having been so flippant in my younger years and very wasteful. Better late than never to turn over a new leaf!! Xx
Absolutely! 🙂 xx